Now that summer is in full swing, our kids want to be outside playing as much as possible, but they can get very hot in a short amount of time, especially when they’re running around in the sun. So how hot is too hot for a day in the backyard or at the park?
Doctors reveal how to protect kids from overheating and when it’s too hot for them to be outside:
- It depends on your child’s activity level - Pediatrician Dr. Gina Posner says activity levels play a huge factor. If it’s 100-degrees and your kids are swimming, playing with water toys and in the shade, she says being outside is perfectly fine, as long as you keep a close eye on them. But if they’re running around in direct sunlight, they could overheat even when the temperature is only in the 80s. Pediatrician Dr. S. Daniel Ganjian says, “A good rule of thumb is if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your kids.”
- Pay attention to the heat index - Caitlin Hoff, a health and safety investigator for ConsumerSafety.org, recommends keeping an eye on humidity by looking at the heat index factor as well as the temperature. She explains, “When the heat index is 100 degrees or more (over 90 degrees with 60 percent humidity), heat exhaustion is much more probable without safety measures taken.”
- Age DOES matter - Younger kids are more susceptible to heat exhaustion because they “produce less sweat” and “are less likely to feel and understand the dangers of extreme heat,” Hoff says.
- Never skimp on water, shade or sunscreen - Dr. Ganjian recommends dressing kids in light, long-sleeve clothing and applying a safe sunscreen on those over six-months old, then reapplying every two hours and after water play. He says babies under six months should stay out of the sun altogether.
- Warning signs to watch for - Pay attention to signs of overheating including fever, fewer wet diapers, cranky behavior or being overly tired. If you notice these, these experts suggest a lukewarm bath, plenty of fluids and a call to your pediatrician.